Know who walks a lot? Players with plate patience and good strike zone judgment Know who doesn’t walk a lot? Players with lousy plate patient or strike zone judgment. Both of those kinds of players are further impacted by playing for organizations which either encourage or discourage players who work the count.
Dayton Moore, general manager of the Kansas City Royals, however, thinks something else is at play with his team’s poor walk rates over the years: the ballpark:
“We have the largest ballpark in terms of square footage of any ballpark in baseball,” Moore says. “When pitchers come here, they have the mindset to use that park — put the ball in play, throw strikes, attack the zone. There isn’t the same fear factor of getting beat deep that you might have elsewhere.
“I think that plays a huge factor in that walk statistic.”
- Kansas City Royals walks at home in 2012: 202
- Kansas City Royals walks on the road in 2012: 202
- Kansas City Royals walks at home in 2011: 235
- Kansas City Royals walks on the road in 2011: 207
They had more walks on the road in 2010 than at home. They had a TON more walks at home than on the road in 2009. I’m not sure what exactly this all means, but I will say that blaming opposing pitchers’ approach at Kauffman vs. on the road doesn’t seem to carry a lot of explanatory juice.
What does is the fact that the Royals, as an organization, have never really valued players with plate discipline and have done things like sign Jeff Francoeur to multi-year deals. It’s also worth noting that back in the days of George Brett, Darryl Porter and Amos Otis, the Royals walked a lot. And played in the same ballpark.
So hey, if it makes you feel better to blame the park, Dayton, go ahead. Just please show us some evidence that the park is to blame.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.